Urdaimonia Project, sanitov studio, green roof, green wall, solar power, rainwater harvesting, London Design Festival, TaflineLondon2011, green design, sustainable design, eco-design

Alexander Host, the Danish designer behind many of the project’s most special features, including an illuminated, sculptural facade, a waterproof hull, 93% recycled stone cladding, and many of the interior details, took us on a brief tour of the boat that is currently being built at the famous Chatham Docks. With almost all of the locally-sourced timber framing and electrical infrastructure complete and plumbing on its way, the team is very busy laying the finishing touches. And every stylish detail has been accounted for.

The first thing residents and visitors will see upon entering is a wonderful living wall, which will also be visible from strategically-placed portals throughout the floating home. Great big skylights on the roof flood both interior levels with light, and underfloor radiant heating will keep the ark nice and warm during chilly London winters. Solar panels installed on the roof will provide electricity, though it’s unclear at present how much, rainwater will be harvested to irrigate the green roof and living wall, and wastewater will be carefully treated. Lighting will be comprised of a mix between conventional warm sources and energy-efficient LEDs.

Although care has been taken to make the project as sustainable as possible, Host points out that in some cases, available renewable technologies were simply not good enough. In order to provide a sustainable, good life for up to four families, he says, it’s necessary that the technology doesn’t create a “nightmare” scenario by consistently breaking down. The first prototype of what is expected to be a big rollout of sustainable, flexible houseboats should be finished by the end of November, and we are waiting with bated breath!

+ Sanitov Studio